BIG GREEN GATHERING Road Closure Order dated 20th July
When is a road closure not a road closure?
The injunction to stop the Big Green Gathering cited the fact that the Big Green Gathering could not gain a Road Closure order in time for the event, despite the fact that the Highways Department had told the Big Green Gathering Chair, Brig Oubridge that it would be done. On Tuesday, 28th July, after the Big Green Gathering had been forced to cancel the event, a staff member found the Road Closure Order by a hedge on the Cheddar Road and subsequently another was found still pinned to a gatepost. Other signs appeared to have been taken down and evidence of the silver tape was still in place.
The Big Green Gathering surrendered its licence on the advice of its lawyers because it believed that it was impossible to obtain a road closure order in the time available. It now appears that the order was in place from 20th July 2009. We find it difficult to understand why the Council and the police did not check to ensure that the order had not been made before they issued their intentions to go to court at 6.54 p.m. on Friday, 24th July 2009. The Big Green Gathering on the other hand had no way of contacting the Highways Authority after the offices had closed for the weekend. The Big Green Gathering also finds it strange that no witness statement was received from the Highways Authority in support of the assertion that there was no road closure order in place. A copy of the road closure order appears below.
The Somerset County Council highways department are now saying that this was not a road closure order. "These physical notices are purely for information purposes and are adverts for proposed road closures and temporary speed limits, rather then a copy of a Temporary Traffic Order. They were required as part of the procedure for temporary road closure and restrictions."
The Big Green Gathering organisers recognise the tremendous disappointment this has caused to those who bought tickets, traders and the locals. The Big Green Gathering normally brings in the order of £2million to the local economy and many local businesses are suffering in these times of recession because of the cancellation of the festival. The BGG had already spent over £200,000 on police, security, infrastructure and site wages.
Ends: further information Penny Kemp 07711 760692
Hugo Charlton 07830 0349077
Photos of the road traffic order in situ are available
SOMERSET COUNTY COUNCIL
THE COUNTY OF SOMERSET (BIG GREEN GATHERING 2009)
(TEMPORARY TRAFFIC RESTRICTIONS) TEMPORARY NOTICE 2009
THE SOMERSET COUNTY COUNCIL in exercise of its powers under Section 14-16 of the Road Traffic regulation Act 1984 as amended, and of all other enabling powers, hereby makes the following Temporary Notice:-
1. This Notice shall come into operation on Monday 26th July 2009 and will continue in force until Monday 3rd August 2009.
The Following restrictions and prohibitions are made:-
A) To prohibit all traffic from proceeding along Nordrach Lane, from its junction with the B3134 to its junction with Cheddar Road, and Cheddar Road, from its junction with Nordrach Lane to its junction with the B3134
B) Temporary restriction of speed to 40mph on the B3134 from 500 meters South East of the junction with the B3371 in a North Westerly direction for a distance along said length of road of 2500 meters.
C) Temporary Prohibition of Waiting and Stopping of Vehicles on the B3134 from its junction with Old Bristol Road to its junction with Ubley Drove and the B3371 from its junction with the B3134 for a distance of 1250 metres.
These prohibitions are made by reason of the likelihood of danger to the public or of damage to the highway.
Corporate Director for the Environment
Dated the 20th July 2009
RL: So it looks as if there was incompetence and poor communication within and between the authorities. If they intended to help the BGG to take place, they would have done this competently. The fact that they did not supports the theory that they were minded to block the festival.